Add users from other directories or partner companies in Azure Active Directory

This article explains how to add users from other directories in Azure Active Directory or add users from partner companies. For information about adding new users in your organization, and adding users who have Microsoft accounts, see Add new users to Azure Active Directory.


Microsoft recommends that you manage Azure AD using the Azure AD admin center in the Azure portal instead of using the Azure classic portal referenced in this article. For how to add B2B collaboration guest users in the Azure AD admin center, see What is Azure AD B2B collaboration?

Added users don't have administrator permissions by default, but you can assign roles to them at any time.

Add a user

  1. Sign in to the Azure classic portal with an account that's a global admin for the directory.
  2. Select Active Directory, and then open your directory.
  3. Select the Users tab, and then, in the command bar, select Add User.
  4. On the Tell us about this user page, under Type of user, select either:

  5. On the user Profile page, provide a first and last name, a user-friendly name, and a user role from the Roles list. For more information about user and administrator roles, see Assigning administrator roles in Azure AD. Specify whether to Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for the user.
  6. On the Get temporary password page, select Create.

If your organization uses more than one domain, you should know about the following issues when you add a user account:

  • TO add user accounts with the same user principal name (UPN) across domains, first add, for example,, followed by
  • Don't add before you add

If you change information for a user whose identity is synchronized with your on-premises Active Directory service, you can't change the user information in the Azure classic portal. To change the user information, use your on-premises Active Directory management tools.

Add external users

You can also add users from another Azure AD directory to which you belong, or from partner companies by uploading a CSV file. To add an external user, for Type of User, specify User in another Microsoft Azure AD directory or Users in partner companies.

Users of either type are sourced from another directory and are added as external users. External users can collaborate with other users in a directory without any requirement to add new accounts and credentials. External users authenticate with their home directory when they sign in, and that authentication works for any other directories to which they have been added.

External user management and limitations

When you add a user from another directory to your directory, that user is an external user in your directory. The display name and user name are copied from their home directory and used for the external user in your directory. From then on, properties of the external user account are entirely independent. If property changes are made to the user in their home directory, those changes aren't propagated to the external user account in your directory.

The only linkage between the two accounts is that the user always authenticates against their home directory or with their Microsoft account. That's why you don't see an option to reset the password or enable multi-factor authentication for an external user. Currently, the authentication policy of the home directory or Microsoft account is the only one that's evaluated when the user signs in.


You can still disable the external user in the directory, which blocks access to your directory.

If a user is deleted in their home directory or they cancel their Microsoft account, the external user still exists in your directory. However, the user in your directory can't access resources because they can't authenticate with a home directory or Microsoft account.

Services that currently support access by Azure AD external users

  • Azure classic portal: allows an external user who's an administrator of multiple directories to manage each of those directories.
  • SharePoint Online: if external sharing is enabled, allows an external user to access SharePoint Online authorized resources.
  • Dynamics CRM: if the user is licensed via PowerShell, allows an external user to access authorized resources in Dynamics CRM.
  • Dynamics AX: if the user is licensed via PowerShell, allows an external user to access authorized resources in Dynamics AX. The limitations for Azure AD external users apply to external users in Dynamics AX as well.

Next steps